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Descriptive Research, Reaction Paper Example

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Descriptive research refers to five types of applied research which are correlation, longitudinal, case study, ex post facto, and survey. Correlation research looks for relationship between different variable in order to understand their interaction as well as develop future predictive capabilities. A longitudinal study refers to researcher observing a group over time and trying to understand its evolution and development. A case study is an in-depth research of a unit to understand how the particular unit operates in its setting. Ex post facto study is one in which a problem is identified and then data analyzed to determine the source of the problem. Survey Research involves collecting data from a particular group regarding a given issue and then studying the data to understand the collective opinion of the group. Research often involves taking a population sample because collecting data on the whole population is either cost prohibitive or not possible. Different techniques have been developed to choose a sample such as random sampling, stratified random sampling, systematic sampling, and cluster sampling. Similarly, data can be collected in a number of ways such as observation, interviews, and questionnaires (Creswell, 2008).

This chapter does a good job of introducing us to descriptive research methods but one can’t help but think about the limitations of these descriptive research methods. For example, correlation looks for relationship between two variables but the variables are chosen by the researchers themselves to investigate. It is possible the positive relationship observed may be a mere coincidence and not a reflection of reality. There may be other variables with stronger co relation that the researcher may not have considered. Similarly, personal bias may also affect the conclusions reached in longitudinal study. I personally find ex post study to be more reliable because the starting point is the data rather than the variables chosen by the researchers to study. Researchers often study data with the expectation that any outcome is possible. Thus, they investigate data with an open mind instead of merely testing personal hypothesis. Of course, there is still a possibility that personal bias may affect the analysis.

I didn’t think that there are so many methodologies that a researcher can take. I always thought that research is a random process with no clearly defined methodologies. This chapter also made me realize that I often see these descriptive methodologies in the news articles which means descriptive research methods are quite common.

Reference

Creswell, J. W. (2008). Understanding and Analyzing Descriptive Research. In Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods (pp. 53-65). Sage Publications, Inc.

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